Book: “Park Avenue Summer” by Renee Rosen
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Women’s Literature
Five Word Description: New York, Publishing, Feminism, Photography, Self-Discovery
Rating: 4-/5 Stars
This historical fiction work by Renee Rosen is a coming of age tale that follows main character Alice as she enters New York City in search of a career in photography. It is the 1960s and women are emerging as leaders in the workforce. Alice lands a job at the illustrious Cosmopolitan magazine. There she meets the force known as Helen Gurly Brown, a strong willed and intelligent woman who is on a one way mission to change the way women read magazines! What does New York City have in store for Alice? Will she realize her goal of becoming a world renowned photographer? With a few dollars in the pocket and big dreams, Alice has a lot of work ahead of her.
As a lover of historical fiction, this book was right up my alley. This book reminded me of the novel, “The City of Girls.” There is something truly special about New York historical fiction! Accordingly, the author does a fabulous job of setting the scene and creating this historical version of the city. Early in the book, readers will experience a sensory awakening through detailed period descriptions filled with houndstooth shifts and beehive hairdos. True transportation into the decade takes place!
The book moves slowly and delicately through the details. This is definitely a slow burn! The author uses the main character’s observations and thoughts to tell most of the story. A large part of the story includes the main character reminiscing about her mother who has died before the story opens. These reflection periods seem to bog down the book a bit and although heartfelt they seemed to drag a bit.
The novel introduces a love interest in the middle of the book in the form of Eric Masterson. This was a love to hate character. As a reader, you see why he is a bad pick for our protagonist but you just have to read and let it all unfold. This drama adds something special to the book and some of the scenes between his character and Alice were my favorite.
The book combines all of the typical elements of historical fiction/women’s literature. Female focused friendships, love and personal growth are all key components of the tale.
Is this book a slower read? Yes…
Is it worth it? If you enjoy historical fiction or women’s literature… Yes!